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March 2018 Searchlight

To read the March 2018 Searchlight on this page, scroll down or click the links below to see specific articles:

Minister’s Monthly Worship Message:
Resilient Community Weaves In . . . Memory

Without memory there would be no civilization, no society, no future.

– Elie Weisel

There is a story by Jewish author Sandy Eisenberg Sasso in which she imagines a conversation between God and the Angels as God turns to create memory and forgetfulness. The Angels beg God not to create forgetfulness, afraid the people will not remember the songs of their ancestors and the story of their people. Yet God admonishes them that remembering is not always so pleasant, and asks them what they remember about all of time and the space before time. Remembering all they have seen and known, the Angels are wracked with sorrow and paralyzed by regret. They understand then, the balance of remembering and forgetting.

So God creates forgetting as a source of relief, and God creates remembrance as a seed of understanding and resilience in the souls of all humankind.

There are some things we need to forget if we are to function in this world. And yet, so much of our resilience also comes from rooting ourselves in memory – in knowing the songs of our ancestors and the stories of our people and even the narratives of our own deep selves. Without memory there is no society, no time, no us.

This month we will explore the slippery, complex landscape of memory and its importance in shaping who and how we understand ourselves to be.

See you in church!
Rev. Molly

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March Worship Services – Sundays at 9 and 11 a.m.

Sunday, March 4 – “Remembering Ourselves” – Rev. Molly Housh Gordon

Memory is the way that we build identity, the story of self that we tell ourselves as we move through life. Yet memory is also a strange and changeable thing, a shifting ground upon which to build a self. Join us to explore how… and what… we remember.

Sunday, March 11 – “Wrestling With Our Ancestors” – Rev. Molly Housh Gordon

Rooting ourselves in memory provides essential grounding to our selves and our communities, but it also reminds us that our ancestors and histories were just as human and flawed as we are. What does it mean to wrestle with the history of our families, our hometown, and our state in order to move forward together with resilience?

Sunday, March 18 – Youth Sunday – YRUU High School Age Youth Group

This is a favorite service each year, when our high school age youth group chooses a topic and leads us in a fun and profound time of reflection. Be sure to come hear the wisdom of our young people!

Sunday, March 25 – One Service Only at 10:30 a.m. – Potluck Lunch to Follow – “Food & Ancestry” – DRE Jamila Batchelder and Tim Dickerson

At the center of every religious tradition there seems to be, somewhere, a feast. At the center of every culture and ethnicity and identity, there is a special food or cuisine. What stories and histories are represented in the foods your family eats? Join us for one combined service at 10:30 a.m., and bring a potluck dish that says something about your family heritage to share after the service.

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Forum Schedule – March 2018

The UU Forum, an adult discussion group open to the public, meets on Sundays from 9 to 10 a.m. Conversation and light refreshments are offered along with the discussion. Forum coordinator: Bill Clark, 573-474-4510.

  • March 4: Wayne Anderson will present “Barbie’s Influence on Women’s Liberation.”
  • March 11: David Schenker, Associate Professor of Classical Studies at MU, will present on “Greek Tragedy in Political Protest.”
  • March 18: Rev. Molly and R.E. Director Jamila Batchelder will discuss the future of religious education and our church in general.
  • March 25: Dolores Clark will wind up Women’s History Month with a program to be announced.

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Stewardship 2018

A Different Kind of Stewardship Campaign – “Weaving Together Community”

At the end of last week, I posted in our community Facebook group an interview with my son Theo, who is 5 years old, on what he loves about UUCC. From the mouth of babes comes some of the purest praises for our beloved community. He told us that his favorite things about coming to church were seeing Mr. Kevin (Kevin Fritsche, who regularly teaches the Potter class) and his friends in class. Most importantly he tells us that he loves everyone in the church, and he knows everyone loves him too.

I am so grateful we have such a dedicated group of volunteers who help our children grow from preschool where they learn about love, kindness, and community, through young adulthood where they learn to dismantle systems of oppression and use their voices to create a more just and loving world. Our pledges are necessary to support this great program and help develop our next generation of UUs into the leaders we will need tomorrow.

I am pleased to report that as of Feb. 20, our pledging total was $116,213, about 35% of our goal, with a little less than two weeks of our pledge drive remaining. The percentage increase from existing pledgers is just below the 7.4 percent bump that is our goal.

With this added support we will better fund our music program, become a teaching ministry to support an intern UU Minister, provide support to the work of our Sanctuary Team and Access and Inclusion Team, and kick off a new Adult RE program in the Fall – and more!

Our hope is that each and every one of our members and friends will join us in Weaving Our Future Together and make a financial pledge to help us realize our goals. It is only through the receipt of pledges that the church can plan its budget for the coming fiscal year that will begin July 1, 2018.

You can pledge by completing a pledge card and mailing it or dropping it off at the church, or you can securely submit an online pledge.

Our pledge drive closes March 4.

In spirit and service,
Michela Skelton
Co-Chair, Stewardship Team

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Music Director Search Team – Congregational Conversation

“Dreams for the Future of Our Music Program” – Sunday, March 11 – 12:30-2 p.m.

Join us during this interim period to share your dreams for the future of our music program. Childcare and snacks will be provided.

This is your chance to be heard as the Music Director Search Team works on a job description for our permanent position.

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Board and delegate volunteers sought

The Nominating Committee is currently seeking volunteers interested in serving our liberal religious community in two meaningful ways:

  • As members of our Board of Trustees
  • As delegates to the UUA General Assembly

Each year three positions become available on our nine-member Board of Trustees. The board is the governing body of the church. It plays an important advisory role and provides financial oversight and short- and long-term guidance on matters of policy. The board meets monthly, and board terms last for three years.

The second volunteer opportunity is to serve as one of six official UUCC delegates at the annual UUA General Assembly, which will be held in Kansas City this year from June 20 to 24. While attendance at G.A. is open to everyone, delegates have the opportunity to debate and vote on major issues affecting our denomination. More information about serving as a delegate can be found at

Nominations for the Board of Trustees and G.A. delegates must be received by March 10. Do not be shy – self-nominations are encouraged.

If you would like to volunteer or nominate someone other than yourself, or if you have questions, email Rev. Molly or any of the Nominating Committee members, Kevin Fritsche, Maria Oropallo and Peter Holmes, using the email links below:

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President’s Perspective – “How Can a Member Contribute?”

By Todd Iveson, 2017-18 President

It seems like such a busy time at church right now. The YRUU Valentine’s Dance was last night, the annual Honduras Ministry fund raiser is next Saturday, and the Stewardship Campaign is under way, to name just a few things going on. But, really, when isn’t it a busy time at UUCC? That’s life in a thriving congregation!

There are a couple of things coming up very quickly that I want to make sure you’re aware of. The Nominating Committee (Kevin Fritsche, Peter Holmes, Maria Oropallo) is looking for people interested in being delegates to the UUA General Assembly in Kansas City June 20-24. Delegates are official representatives of our congregation authorized to vote on our behalf on matters brought before the General Assembly. There is money in our budget to pay the registration fees for delegates, but other expenses generally are borne by the delegates. If you are interested, please let the committee know by March 10 so that the board may name the delegates at its March 15 meeting.

You do not need to be a delegate to attend G.A. Anyone can attend, and there are many exciting workshops and worship opportunities available. For more information, see

The committee is also seeking members interested in serving on the Board of Trustees for the three positions we will elect at our spring congregational meeting. Any voting member may serve as a trustee. I personally recommend that someone be a member for at least a year before serving on the board just so you have a deeper familiarity with the congregation, but that isn’t a by-law requirement. I’m serving my second term on the Board and have found both times very rewarding. I have a much deeper understanding of the great work we are doing and all the hard work by all of you that makes it possible. For more information, see, or speak with any board member listed there.

The committee is asking that people interested in becoming board members contact them by March 10 so we can be sure to have enough time to include their names in the notice of the annual meeting. If you don’t meet that deadline, you can still run. Nominations are allowed even at the annual meeting.

We will have completed the main portion of our stewardship campaign by the time you read this. As always, there are likely still some folks we have not yet heard from. If you are among them, please email Michela Skelton Birk or Jan Swaney to let them know what your plans are, even if you will not be able to pledge this year. This information is important for purposes of planning for the coming church year. Thank you, and thanks to all who have already pledged. A special thanks to the Stewardship Team members for their hard and vital work.

I also want to let you know that the congregation received a nice thank you note from Sally Fritsche for our assistance in her most recent step in the process leading to ordination. I posted it on the bulletin board in the Greeting Area. Molly also indicated she received a note from Rev. Haney expressing his delight in the use of the money in the fund named in his honor for this purpose.

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Rev. Molly lit the new chalice on Jan. 28 from a flame passed from the chalice made by Naoma Powell.

New Chalice Dedicated

Our observance of the 67th anniversary of our church’s founding at worship services on Jan. 28, 2018 included dedication of a beautiful new metal chalice purchased and given to the church by a member couple.

The late Naoma Powell made the chalice we had been using since 2006 after the congregation’s previous chalice broke, and it was always intended to be temporary. Naoma’s chalice served us long and well, but was showing signs of wear. To protect this beloved artifact, it is being officially “retired” from active duty but will always have a place in our sanctuary and will still be used for special occasions.

The new chalice is larger and will be easier to see from all parts of the sanctuary, in keeping with the needs of our growing congregation. It was dedicated with Naoma’s own January 2006 words of dedication of the chalice now being retired:

Though chalice changes, the flame burns bright.
Not holder, not cup but flame that offers light.
Flame that lights the darkness.
Flame, in its burning, illumines night.
Flame, its double halo, bringing light to shadow, warmth to shade.
Flame, re-igniting

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Ryan Schmidt

Meet the Chalice Artist

Our new chalice that was dedicated at the Jan. 28 worship services was crafted by Ryan Schmidt, a metal artist based in Cumberland Gap, Tenn.

Ryan owned and managed a motorcycle repair shop in Kansas City before moving to Tennessee in 2015. Shortly after moving he met a neighbor, William Brock, a traditional blacksmith who taught Ryan the art of blacksmithing. Ryan’s passion is creating custom-made functional objects, ornamental ironwork, sculptures, and furniture. He is a member of several professional blacksmithing groups.

When Ryan is not creating art at his shop, Mitty’s Metal Art (, he likes to get out and explore the surrounding Appalachian region on his Harley or mountain bike. Ryan is not a UU but is familiar with our denomination through friends.

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Welcoming Team Announcements

For newcomers

“Getting to Know UU”

For those who want to know more about us.
First Sunday of each month in Rev. Molly’s office
after the 11 a.m. service for about 30 minutes.
Child care provided.

Ready to join?

Here are the classes you won’t want to miss!

If you are considering membership in UUCC, we urge you to attend these classes:

  • Membership 101: UU history and history of this church – Sunday, April 15, 12:30-2:30 p.m. in the Centering Room, Lower Level.
  • Membership 102: How to get more involved in the life of the church – Sunday, April 29, 12:30-2:30 p.m. in the Centering Room, Lower Level.

Lunch will be provided. Child care can be provided with one week’s notice. RSVP by email or by calling 573-442-5764.

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Update from the Sanctuary Team

We are quickly readying ourselves to provide hospitality to an immigrant requiring sanctuary. We are financially able to make the changes to our physical plant – thanks to the wonderful congregational support of Faith-to-Action collections and a generous donation from a UUCC member, we are prepared to build a shower in one of our bathrooms.

Along with Rock Bridge Christian Church, the other Sanctuary Church in Columbia, and with solidarity churches, we held a “Wine in the Sanctuary” fundraiser at RBCC on Feb. 10. While icy weather limited the attendance, we hope that when the accounting is completed, it will show that a significant amount was earned toward the support of anyone entering into sanctuary.

Read more about our Sanctuary Team.

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Get Grounded – Join the Grounds Team

Are you a new church member, looking for ways to connect with fellow Columbia UUs? Are you a long-time member who’d like to participate in church life in a new way, without feeling over-committed? Whoever you are, the UUCC Grounds Team may have something for you!

Our team’s mission is to foster the development and maintenance of our church’s grounds in an earth-friendly and sustainable way, and to encourage people of all ages to interact with the beautiful outdoor space around our church. We usually meet monthly (less often during the cold months) to develop our priorities for the year, discuss ongoing projects, and to work outdoors on planting, weeding, mulching, and whatever else needs to be done to keep our church grounds beautiful, healthy, and people-friendly.

Our biggest project over the past three years has been converting the perennial beds in the church’s “front yard” to native species. This effort is almost complete, and couldn’t have been accomplished without the dedication of many volunteers who contributed physical labor as well as the brain power to conceive and plan the plantings. Projects in the works include adding native plants to the Memorial Garden area and a possible collaboration with the R.E. Team to develop a natural playground area.

The Grounds Team could use a few new members to help with the visioning, planning, and budgeting part of our mission. And we can always use more helpers at our outdoor work days during the warm months. If collaborating with a fun, laid-back group of UUs who like to spend time outdoors sounds like a good way to contribute to the life of our church, the Grounds Team is for you! Contact co-chairs Jeanne Murphy or Patty Daus to learn more.

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Green Sanctuary Team news

Spring is coming! The Green Sanctuary Team will be running a Stream Team water quality monitoring event on the Hinkson Creek on Saturday, March 10. This is a fun and educational get-your-feet-wet-if-you-want event open to everyone. Meet at the church at 1:30, and we will travel together to our site. Read more below.

Our February and March emphasis is mindful engagement – how we can participate and live our lives to protect and enhance the interdependent web of all life. In that spirit, and to build our partnership with the Missouri Rural Crisis Center, members of the Green Sanctuary group participated in two lobby days in the capitol to promote local control legislation to protect the state’s water quality and head off the building of more confined animal feeding operations.

In April and May, the GS Team will be emphasizing mindful journeys, attending to the ways that our transportation choices affect other people, the environment, and our individual spirituality.

For your calendar:

  • Our “Got Skills?” workshop from 10 to 11:30 a.m. April 14 will be a Bike Skills and Safety Workshop put on by PedNet. This fun and educational activity for anyone 8 years and above will feature a brief lesson on safety and rules of the road, followed by an on-bike skills course, including a fix-a-flat activity and games. Younger children are welcome to come along, and will also enjoy the skills course.
  • On Sunday, May 6, we will hold a kick-off breakfast for our “choose a different path” low-carbon transportation challenge in May.

Watch for more information about these events to come!

We welcome interested UUs to our meetings and to participate in any of our events that inspire you. Our next meeting is at 7 p.m. March 13 at the home of Ellen Thomas, 2616 Hillshire Drive.

UUCC Stream Team Monitoring of Hinkson Creek

Join the Green Sanctuary Team’s Stream Team in monitoring the health of Hinkson Creek at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, March 10. Meet at the church.

We will be catching and counting macro-invertebrates (like the mayfly shown here) that live in the creek. We will also be measuring stream flow, water temperature, dissolved oxygen, nitrate content, pH level, conductivity, and turbidity.

All ages are welcome to come and do some serious but enjoyable messing in a creek together and discovering what lives there. Wear shoes or boots that allow you to wade in the creek. For questions email Peter Holmes.

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Midwest UU Summer Assembly July 1-7

The Midwest Unitarian Universalist Summer Assembly (MUUSA) is a summer camp where more than 400 UUs get together every year to re-energize with like-minded people.

The weeklong camp offers many workshops and activities for families, couples and singles of all ages. This year Reverend Nic Cable will lead the daily Morning Celebration service on this year’s theme, “Living Between Worlds.”

Join fellow UUs in the hills of the Missouri Ozarks at YMCA Trout Lodge where you can make new friends and connect with old friends! Registration is now open at

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Programs and Events

“The Work That Reconnects”

The WTR program offers ongoing personal and spiritual exploration developed by Buddhist scholar, author and teacher Joanna Macy and facilitated by Caya Tanski-French. Sessions are being held from 7 to 9 p.m. on the first and third Tuesdays of each month through May.

The central purpose of the program is to deepen relationships with one another and with the self-healing powers in the web of life, taking us from despair and helping to motivate and empower us to reclaim our lives, our communities, and our planet Earth. Read more on our website or contact Caya by email.

Grieving Circle

If you or someone you know would like to meet in a facilitated Grieving Circle, or you wish to be in a place where you can freely and safely express your grief, please contact Rev. Molly, Maria Oropallo, Barbara Carter or Greg Bergman.

All of our contact information is in the church directory on our website, or you can send us an email.

Hook & Needle Group

Take a break and join our church’s Hook & Needle Group. Yarn, patterns and tutoring are available. The group meets at the church on Tuesdays at 2 p.m.

For more information, call Marian Hjelmfelt at 573-449-5118.

Mindfulness Meditation

Join us for Mindfulness Meditation at 10:05 a.m. Sundays in the Centering Room or at the Fire Circle.
Meditators of all levels of experience are welcome. This is mainly silent meditation with some instruction, if needed, and with brief selected readings from eminent teachers.

For more information, email Peter Holmes.

UU Book Discussion – March 9

UU Book Discussion will meet at 5 p.m. Friday, March 9 at ABC Chinese Cuisine, 3510 I-70 Dr. S.E. Bring a book you have read to discuss briefly.

If you have questions, call Pam Springsteel at 573-445-0642.

UU Life Writers – March 10 and 17

Life Writers will have a little different schedule in March – the 10th and 17th at 10:30 a.m. in the Centering Room. In April the group will be back to the normal first and third Saturdays.

Our theme this spring is “Passages.” What are the passages in our lives that have made a difference and sent us in a different direction, or was the passage through a hard or traumatic time? The stories in the writing group continue to amaze us all. All are welcome.

For more information, contact Fran Reynolds by email or by calling 573-443-4336.

Conversations, Etc. – March 14

Conversations, Etc. will meet at noon Wednesday, March 14 at the church. Bring a brown bag lunch and a snack to share if you wish.

If you have questions, call Pam Springsteel at 573-445-0642.


Kaleidoscope pagan gathering – March 17

Come celebrate the rebirth of the Earth, bunnies and eggs and Nature courting. Celebrate all things new and joyful and wonderful.

Join Kaleidoscope as we celebrate Ostara, the spring equinox, at 6 p.m. Saturday, March 17 at the church. We will join in ritual, followed by a potluck and friendship.

All are welcome, no matter what their personal paths.

Loaves and Fishes meal – March 18

UUCC provides the evening meal at Loaves and Fishes on the third Sunday each month – March 18 this month.

Please sign up here to prepare food for this meal and/or to help set up, serve, and clean up.

Serving meals at Loaves and Fishes is a project of our Social Action Team. If you have questions, email Diane Suhler.

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Faith-to-Action collections planned

  • March 4: No More Deaths
  • March 11: Fun City Youth Academy
  • April 1: Missouri Rural Crisis Center

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Church Administrator Notes

The 2017 Statements of Contribution were mailed to most of our supporters by U.S. postal mail in January. If you have not yet received a statement and want one, please let me know me by email.

If you have donated noncash items to the church at any time and wish to receive an acknowledgment for tax purposes, please also contact me and let me know.

A reminder to check the lost and found container in the church greeting area under the coat rack if you have lost an item and it is possible that you lost it in the church. Every few months the items that are not claimed will be donated to a local charity. If you email me and ask about your lost item, I am happy to check our “collection.”

Please help us keep our church records up to date. If you are moving or have other changes to your address, phone number or email address, give me a call or send me an email.

If you are new to the church community or even if you’re not, and you have a question, don’t hesitate to contact me!

Yours truly, Kathie Bergman

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DRE’s March Message

At General Assembly last year, many of the speakers called on “The Ancestors” to be present with us. This isn’t traditionally a part of most European religious traditions, but I was struck by just how powerful and meaningful it was to think of all those who came before you, their triumphs and mistakes, aspirations and fears, all being present with us.

And I remember how much I hungered for their presence as a child. I loved to hear stories of my non-conformist Puritan ancestors on my father’s side, of my ancestors fleeing pogroms on my mother’s side, and how these ancestors became a part of who I knew myself to be, how I carried their memory within me.

This month, as we reflect on our theme of memory, take some time with your children to invoke the presence of the Ancestors:

  • Share stories and photographs of your family as far back as you know.
  • Prepare a special dish from an old family recipe.
  • Read folktales from your cultural heritage.
  • Take some time to acknowledge the wrongs that people from your cultural heritage may have perpetrated. How does that shape our responsibilities to the world today?
  • Acknowledge ancestors whose names you will never know, but whose existence can still be a powerful memory and source of strength. Also remember the ancestors who may not have been part of our family directly, but who still shaped our story.

Jamila Batchelder, Director of Religious Education

RE Team Meeting – Sunday, March 4 from noon to 1:30 p.m.

Anyone is invited to come to this potluck meeting to discuss issues and projects on the horizon in R.E. Childcare is available upon request.

Junior Youth Night – Friday, March 9 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Our YRUU high school youth group will be hosting a games night for our Junior Youth (6th-8th grade). There will be a variety of games and, as always, lots of pizza!

Pie and Boardgames Returns! – March 10 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Childcare available upon request

March R.E. Schedule

  • March 4: Service Sunday – We will hold a workshop for how to be good community members for our elder church members.
  • March 11: Regular R.E. Classes
  • March 18: Regular R.E. Classes
  • March 25: Intergenerational Service, one service at 10:30 a.m.

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Our Staff

Rev. Molly Housh Gordon, Minister
Office Hours: Tuesdays 1-4 p.m. at church, Wednesdays 11 a.m.-1 p.m. at Kaldi’s Coffee Downtown, and
by appointment (including evenings and weekends)

Kathie Bergman, Administrator
Office Hours: Monday-Friday 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Telephone: 573-442-5764

Jamila Batchelder, Director of Religious Education
Office Hours: Wednesdays 10 a.m.-noon and by appointment

Marques Ruff, Interim Music Director
Rehearsals on Wednesdays at 7 p.m.

April Rodeghero, Sunday Morning Assistant

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2017-2018 Board of Trustees

Todd Iveson, President
Barbara Rupp, President-Elect
Patty Daus, Treasurer
Sam Buffaloe, Secretary
Mark Johnson
Peter Holmes
Jenny Bossaller
Gretchen Maune
Mindy McPherson

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Searchlight Publication Information

The Searchlight is published monthly by the Unitarian Universalist Church of Columbia, Missouri.
Submissions: By email or postal mail to Church Administrator. The deadline for submissions is noon on the third Monday of each month for the following month’s edition.

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